"To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time"
-engraving on the watches of NASA's Gemini & Apollo Astronauts
Shooting for the Moon
In the mid-1960s, the Omega Speedmaster chronograph was chosen by NASA, along with models from Rolex and Longines, to undergo a series of tests to determine which timepiece could withstand the extreme elements of space missions. The Speedmaster was selected in 1965, and NASA would go on to give one to each of the Gemini and Apollo astronauts, with the engraving “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time” on the caseback. The Speedmaster famously became the first watch worn on the moon, by Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission.
Though Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong had left his inside the Lunar Module, proof that even in space, the right watch is an integral accessory. While finding an original NASA-issued Speedmaster at auction may be a rare occurrence, there are other ways to give the gift of time without reaching for, or traveling to, the moon.
Finding Time to Celebrate
Giving a luxury watch to someone special in your life is a thoughtful, and highly personal, gesture. Worn almost daily, a fine watch lends an inherent sophistication to the wearer, as well as a fond association of the giver. Timepieces can be given to celebrate an important birthday or anniversary, a professional milestone, or personal accomplishment. Once you’ve settled on the occasion, there are several things to consider as you start your search for the perfect timepiece.
1. Would the recipient prefer a bracelet watch or a leather band? Yellow gold or steel?
It’s worth considering the wearer’s personal style as well as other jewelry they wear regularly. A yellow gold bracelet watch may miss the mark for someone who exclusively prefers silver or platinum.
2. Is the intended recipient into current trends, or do they prefer more classic styles?
The trend of women wearing oversized men’s watches may not hold up over the years, while the more modest Cartier Tank watch has remained a classic for almost 90 years, favored by celebrities ranging from Warren Beatty to Princess Diana, and most recently Michelle Obama.
3. Will the wearer need complications, such as a date display or chronograph?
These features cannot be added to an existing watch and are important to consider before purchasing. A chronograph can come in handy for runners and athletes, or a budding chef tracking cooking times.
4. Should you have it engraved?
Engraving your final choice can add an extra personal touch. The engraving doesn’t need to be chosen by NASA in order to be special. Popular engravings include the wearer’s initials, child’s initials, or a significant date, such as a wedding anniversary.
Curious what your watches will bring at auction? Contact Freeman's for a complimentary auction estimate. We are currently accepting watches for our April 7 auction. For more information and for a complimentary appointment, please contact:
Michael Larsen | 818.205.3608 | firstname.lastname@example.org
A stainless steel and eighteen karat gold chronograph bracelet watch, Omega Speedmaster, Apollo 15 35th anniversary edition. Sold for $4,063; Lot 205 A diamond and eighteen karat gold bracelet watch, Ebel quartz movement with single-cut diamond set bezel and numerals. Sold for $1,560.